A Norwegian man suspected of killing his stepsister and opening fire at a mosque near Oslo at the weekend appeared at a court detention hearing beaten and bruised but smiling on Monday, accused of murder and a terrorist act.
The terrorist, identified as 21-year old Philip Manshaus, appeared in the Oslo court with two black eyes and scrapes and bruises on his face, neck, and hands, probably obtained when he was overpowered at the mosque. Police say he has “extreme right views” and “xenophobic positions”. The Norway incident comes amid a rise in white supremacy attacks around the world.
Manshaus is formally suspected of murder in the death of his 17-year-old stepsister, and of a “terrorist act” at the Al-Noor mosque on Saturday, allegations he has rejected. In Norway, being formally named as a suspect is a step prior to indictment. Manshaus entered the courtroom smiling to cameras, wearing dark clothes, and his hair cut short.
Police asked the court to detain the suspect in custody in isolation for four weeks. The judge was expected to announce a decision later Monday.
Manshaus, meanwhile, asked to be released, his lawyer Unni Fries said after the hearing. “He rejects the allegations and exercises his right to not explain himself,” she said.
Manshaus is accused of entering the mosque in the affluent Oslo suburb of Baerum armed with at least two weapons and opening fire before being overpowered by a 65-year-old man who suffered minor injuries. Three worshippers were present in the mosque.
Hours after the attack, the body of a young woman was found in a home in Baerum and police on Sunday confirmed it was Manshaus’ 17-year-old stepsister.
According to local media, she was of Chinese origin and had been adopted by the companion of Manshaus’ father.
On Monday, Norway’s domestic intelligence service PST said it had received a tip “about a year ago” about Manshaus, but that they chose not to act on it.
“The tip was pretty vague and was not indicative of any imminent terrorism plot,” PST chief Hans Sverre Sjovold told reporters.
PST, which said it receives a large number of similar tips, has not raised the threat alert level in Norway from the current low level.